Commissioners Tell County Staffers To Prepare For Legal Action Against Insurers
Written by Dan Dolan on December 21, 2006
By Dan Dolan
Miami-Dade County commissioners ordered county staffers this week to prepare for legal action against companies that have raised property-insurance premiums to record levels.
Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, who drafted the directive, said insurance premiums have jumped as much as 280% and are forcing businesses and residents to leave the county for less-expensive areas.
"We are facing a serious crisis. People are being hit with unconscionable increases," Mr. Moss said. "We need to consider a class-action lawsuit to bring rates down. We need to do more than talk."
While county staffers are developing a legal strategy, commissioners will head to Tallahassee to push for state-mandated changes in insurance premiums during the Legislature’s special session Jan. 16.
Without immediate relief from spiraling insurance costs, Miami-Dade’s economy, including all segments of the real estate market, might be damaged beyond repair, commissioners Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Carlos Gimenez and Katy Sorenson said. The commissioners said property owners now pay more for insurance than real estate taxes.
"The state can give us immediate relief, but the long-term solution is national," said in-coming commission chairman Bruno Barreiro, who will lead the county’s lobbying delegation. "The real key to the insurance crisis is to nationalize catastrophic costs for windstorms, earthquakes, fires and mudslides just like we do now with floods."